A school project became a model challenge for Bea from Hurstpierpoint. On her journey to build an International One Metre radio controlled yacht, she helped raise valuable funds for Newhaven RNLI.
Bea’s year 9 class group were invited by their school to take on a creative project of their choice. An open brief! Bea’s passion for sailing led her to International One Metre (IOM) model yachts and the challenge of building one herself.
Bea says: ‘I built the yacht in my grandfathers workshop. It was very precise and tricky work, the gluing of each individual mahogany strip, in particular, took a great deal of time and concentration.’
Bea built the hull using one centimetre wide by one metre long lengths of mahogany strips. These were fixed around a template and both ends were tapered, so that they fitted at the bow and stern ends of the vessel, as a full size wooden boat is made.
Bea’s grandfather, Noel West of Piddinghoe, says: ‘Once Bea had got underway with her project, it became apparent that it was going to be extremely expensive to get it finished. The keel alone can cost £300 and a completed model can be £2000.’
With the help of her grandfather, Bea appealed to IOM-GBR members, who responded with great generosity in an effort to help Bea complete her project, which she did, over a period of six months and predominantly during lockdown.
Noel West, says: ‘Many IOM sailors contributed the parts that Bea required, including the keel, rudder, mast, sails and radio control gear. It really was amazing.’
By way of thanks for the members’ donations of model-parts, Bea’s grandfather promised to make a donation to the RNLI in recognition of the IOM-GBR members help.
Bea and her grandfather visited Newhaven Lifeboat station to meet her volunteer crew and Lewis Arnold (Coxswain/Mechanic). They presented their RNLI donation of £250.
Lewis Arnold, Newhaven RNLI Coxswain/Mechanic, says: ‘We are so impressed with Bea’s commitment and hard work. It is very blowy today out on our decking and her IOM rigging is weathering the storm!’
Bea is a keen and active sailor. She represented Great Britain in the 2021 Optimist Team Centenary Regatta on Lake Garda in Italy. Bea says, ‘I sail a Laser now and hope I will have the opportunity to represent my country again. It’s really nice to know the Lifeboat is there when we’re out on the water practising and racing.’
Lewis Arnold, Newhaven RNLI Coxswain/Mechanic, says: ‘We are extremely grateful to Bea and her grandfather for their support of the RNLI and helping us to save lives at sea. We wish Bea every success with her sailing.’
Notes for the editor
IOM - International One Metre (radio controlled yacht)
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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.
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